These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In North Carolina For 2018


We analyzed over 112 places in North Carolina to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of North Carolina.

But where exactly in North Carolina? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in North Carolina that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Newton don’t mind us spreading the word.

Here are our top ten places in the Tar Heel State to retire for 2018:

  1. Newton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Tarboro (Homes For Sale)
  3. Lenoir (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Albemarle (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Rocky Mount (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Eden (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Belmont (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Shelby (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Southern Pines (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Kings Mountain (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Why did Newton take the top spot? And where are Fayetteville and Cary?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in North Carolina.

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How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Tar Heel State

To create our list of the best places in North Carolina to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Tar Heel State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.

This left us with 57 places from across the state.

For these 57, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 57, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Newton, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

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1. Newton

Newton, North Carolina

Population: 12,999
Median Rent: $679
Distance to Closest Airport: 34 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,692
More on Newton: Homes For Sale | Data

2. Tarboro

Tarboro, North Carolina

Population: 11,206
Median Rent: $670
Distance to Closest Airport: 68 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,828
More on Tarboro: Homes For Sale | Data
Created in 1760, Tarboro is the ninth-oldest incorporated town in North Carolina. Situated on the Tar River at the fall line in the Piedmont, the town served the area as an important colonial river port. It was a thriving trade center until the Civil War.

3. Lenoir

Lenoir, North Carolina

Source: Public domain’

Population: 17,956
Median Rent: $585
Distance to Closest Airport: 57 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,006
More on Lenoir: Homes For Sale | Data
The city was named for Revolutionary War general and early North Carolina statesman William Lenoir, who settled north of present-day Lenoir. His restored home, Fort Defiance, is a tourist attraction.

4. Albemarle

Albemarle, North Carolina

Population: 15,968
Median Rent: $623
Distance to Closest Airport: 43 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,498
More on Albemarle: Homes For Sale | Data
This place-name is derived of the English noble surname Albemarle, which is the French version of the medieval latinization Albamarla of the town Aumale in Normandy, France. From Vulgar Latin alba, ‘white’ and margila, ‘marlstone’. The word root can be explained entirely with two Celtic words: alba, ‘white’, later ‘heaven’ (Cf. Albion), the Latin word alba would be a Deckname for it and margila, which derives of the Celtic marga. The Latin expression albamargila would be an exact loan translation of the Celtic one, glisomarga, ‘white marl’.

5. Rocky Mount

Rocky Mount, North Carolina

Population: 56,175
Median Rent: $715
Distance to Closest Airport: 55 miles
Crime Per 100k: 774
More on Rocky Mount: Homes For Sale | Data
Rocky Mount had its beginning in the early part of the 19th century around the first post office which was established at the falls of the Tar River on March 22, 1816. At that point, the name ‘Rocky Mount’ appeared in documented history. The name undoubtedly derived from the rocky mound at the falls of the Tar River, which was also the site of one of the first cotton mills in North Carolina: Rocky Mount Mills was established in 1818. The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad was built about two miles (3 km) east of the mill in 1845 and became the main connection for Rocky Mount to the outside world.

6. Eden

Eden, North Carolina

Population: 15,434
Median Rent: $632
Distance to Closest Airport: 68 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,198
More on Eden: Homes For Sale | Data
By the mid-eighteenth century, the territory of present-day Eden was within a 70,000-acre (280 km2) estate owned by William Byrd II, a planter of Virginia and North Carolina. He originally called his estate ‘The Land of Eden’.

7. Belmont

Belmont, North Carolina

Population: 10,494
Median Rent: $749
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,222
More on Belmont: Homes For Sale | Data
Settlement in the Belmont area began around the colonial-era Fort at the Point, built in the 1750s by Dutch settler James Kuykendall and others near the junction of the South Fork and the Catawba River. The fort was built because of ongoing hostilities with the Cherokee, but it was apparently never attacked.

8. Shelby

Shelby, North Carolina

Source: Public domain’

Population: 20,259
Median Rent: $689
Distance to Closest Airport: 34 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,200
More on Shelby: Homes For Sale | Data
The Banker’s House, Joshua Beam House, Central Shelby Historic District, Cleveland County Courthouse, East Marion-Belvedere Park Historic District, James Heyward Hull House, Masonic Temple Building, Dr. Victor McBrayer House, George Sperling House and Outbuildings, Joseph Suttle House, Webbley, and West Warren Street Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

9. Southern Pines

Southern Pines, North Carolina

Population: 13,258
Median Rent: $772
Distance to Closest Airport: 58 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,235
More on Southern Pines: Homes For Sale | Data
The James Boyd House, Shaw House, Southern Pines Historic District, Firleigh Farms, and Moore County Hunt Lands and Mile-Away Farms are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

10. Kings Mountain

Kings Mountain, North Carolina

Source: Public domain’

Population: 11,053
Median Rent: $751
Distance to Closest Airport: 23 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,831
More on Kings Mountain: Homes For Sale | Data
Originally the settlement was called White Plains, but when the city was incorporated in 1874, the name was changed. It was decided that ‘Kings Mountain’ would be a more appropriate name since the community was close to the historic 1780 Battle of Kings Mountain in York County, South Carolina, a turning point in the American Revolutionary War.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in North Carolina goes to Newton.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  • Hope Mills
  • Monroe
  • Fayetteville

For more North Carolina reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In North Carolina

City Rank Population Median Rent Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Newton 1 12,999 $679 34 3,692
Tarboro 2 11,206 $670 68 3,828
Lenoir 3 17,956 $585 57 5,006
Albemarle 4 15,968 $623 43 5,498
Rocky Mount 5 56,175 $715 55 774
Eden 6 15,434 $632 68 4,198
Belmont 7 10,494 $749 5 5,222
Shelby 8 20,259 $689 34 4,200
Southern Pines 9 13,258 $772 58 3,235
Kings Mountain 10 11,053 $751 23 2,831
Cary 11 155,822 $1084 6 1,159
Kinston 12 21,393 $667 71 7,259
Graham 13 14,506 $687 35 3,805
Mount Holly 14 14,058 $753 7 2,361
Mint Hill 15 25,024 $967 16 2,669
Salisbury 16 33,674 $743 40 5,921
Henderson 17 15,258 $593 37 6,770
Asheboro 18 25,978 $601 58 6,178
Hickory 19 40,274 $676 42 5,258
Leland 20 17,023 $1086 7 2,661
Pinehurst 21 15,522 $1545 60 579
Burlington 22 52,570 $750 40 4,232
Davidson 23 12,076 $1054 19 1,209
Matthews 24 30,054 $1047 14 3,729
Wilmington 25 113,724 $872 4 4,862
Hendersonville 26 13,548 $757 85 6,598
Concord 27 85,753 $838 21 2,715
Stallings 28 14,759 $1254 17 1,497
Thomasville 29 27,178 $647 66 4,371
Laurinburg 30 15,601 $594 81 7,063
Chapel Hill 31 59,005 $1061 14 2,501
Reidsville 32 14,107 $646 58 6,152
Apex 33 43,893 $1162 11 1,460
Huntersville 34 51,701 $1130 13 2,359
Wake Forest 35 36,472 $973 16 2,763
Mount Airy 36 10,364 $613 91 5,374
Garner 37 27,625 $954 15 3,905
Kannapolis 38 45,685 $827 24 2,307
New Bern 39 30,075 $851 73 3,890
Clayton 40 18,553 $1034 24 2,199
Holly Springs 41 30,126 $1231 15 1,009
Knightdale 42 13,787 $975 17 2,444
Carrboro 43 20,867 $945 17 2,247
Waxhaw 44 12,398 $1228 22 1,330
Lumberton 45 21,646 $651 65 15,665
Kernersville 46 23,736 $726 74 5,245
Fuquay-Varina 47 22,722 $1050 19 2,231
Roanoke Rapids 48 15,454 $729 74 7,460
High Point 49 108,982 $793 67 4,316
Mooresville 50 35,387 $974 26 4,360
Mebane 51 13,592 $831 30 4,598
Asheville 52 87,531 $910 93 5,591
Goldsboro 53 35,924 $738 57 6,647
Boone 54 18,241 $849 80 2,346
Fayetteville 55 203,670 $884 55 5,269
Monroe 56 34,212 $838 96 6,404
Hope Mills 57 16,189 $854 63 5,262

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